Saturday, April 23, 2011
I realized after a few months of blogging that I almost certainly had not met my goal. I was careful not to talk about too many potentially identifying things - like "I'm leaving on a trip to X" or "Angelina wants to adopt another third-world baby - I'm starting to think she's seriously crazy." But someone who knows me in real life would almost certainly be able to map some of my posts to real-life events. Moreover, the Sensual Goddess (who may be biased), says that my writing "voice" is as unmistakable as a fingerprint, and that anyone who read me in other forums (fora?) would look at this blog and identify me instantly.
I have a mixed mind on anonymity. In most (all?) ways, my opinions here reflect my truest and most honest self. While Max is in some ways a mask, it's a mask that allows me to be more myself than I can be in other places. The things I've labeled as "reminiscing" really happened as closely as I was able to recall and document - without embellishment or exhaggeration. The things I've written on love and relationships are my very real opinions. I really think the world would be an all-around happier place if everyone put these ideas into practice.
So why don't I have the courage to stand up in public and state these opinions, if I really believe them? First, the obvious reason of respectability. I have a job I'd like to keep, and a reputation as an upstanding citizen - and I value that in some ways. Also, it's not just about me. I have family and loved ones who I don't want to be subjected to unwanted attention for their association with me. In my own mind, these aren't really good reasons, and I think that when family circumstances evolve in a few years that I may be willing to be more public with my beliefs.
I now look at anonymity from the perspective of the Google search. I've tried not list list enough facts about myself that a blog reader could plug those facts into Google and have a reasonable chance of finding me. (Parentheticaly, true anonymity from Google (i.e., blogger.com) is a lost battle - if a government agency wanted to know who any of us on blogger.com was, they could be at our front door in 15 minutes. But that's a separate issue.)
In some ways, this isn't a happy realization. I'm basically counting on the fact that I'm a tiny fish in a huge ocean, and will most likely never get any kind of scrutiny. If it ever seems like that assumption isn't true, or I was "outed" in some way, I would likely pull the plug on this instantly. And even that wouldn't really do any good - Google erases nothing. So let's just hope it never comes to that.